(Sean Whaley/Nevada News Bureau) – Gov. Jim Gibbons today asked state employees to weigh in on ways to balance the budget after sending a memo to top agency officials seeking even tougher budget cutting scenarios than those outlined earlier this month.
In the email to state employees, one question posed to state workers by Gibbons reads: “I have pledged to not raise taxes. Should Nevada impose a fee on raw municipal waste to promote recycling, create green jobs and renewable energy, and make Nevada less attractive to those states proposing to send us their waste?”
Gibbons also asks for comment on several other ideas:
• Are there any budgets that should not be considered for reduction? Why?
• If we must reduce personnel costs, how should that be done? A percentage pay decrease? Layoffs? More furlough days?
• Utah has tried a 4/10 work week with good results. Should we consider the same?
• Are there any state services that should be discontinued or privatized? Why?
• Is there something we should spend more money on because it would make or save money?
• What is the biggest waste of money that you see too often?
• Would you support eliminating full day kindergarten or increasing class sizes to save money?
• An employed person generates more total state revenue than does the payroll tax collected on each employee. Should we eliminate payroll taxes on new hires to stimulate employment?
In his email, Gibbons said: “We are faced with making some tough decisions very soon. As my co-workers and the people on the ‘front line’ for maintaining essential services, I value your opinions regarding how the state should handle our financial situation.”
The email was sent after state Budget Director Andrew Clinger sent a memo earlier today asking state agencies to, “determine proposed budget reserves in the amount of 6 percent, 8 percent and 10 percent for FY 2010 and FY 2011 and submit them to the Budget Office by the close of business on Tuesday, January 5, 2010.”
Gibbons has already asked for budget cutting scenarios of 1.4 percent and 3 percent from his agency chiefs. Those plans are due today and are being sought because general fund tax revenues so far this year are $53 million below estimates.
In addition, the state Medicaid budget is expected to see a deficit of $55 million by the end of the two-year budget on June 30, 2011, due to unexpected caseload growth.